In less than two months, India captain Virat Kohli has changed his stance on paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
On November 20, 2017, after the India-Sri Lanka Test ended in a draw at Kolkata's Eden Gardens, Kohli had praised 27-year-old Bhuvneshwar stating that the Uttar Pradesh right-armer is a "massive contender" and important for overseas Tests.
Also read: SA-India series schedule, squads
Now, those comments are forgotten by the Delhi right-hander. Today (January 13), Bhuvneshwar was dropped from the team for the second Test against South Africa in Centurion.
In place of Bhuvneshwar, Ishant Sharma was picked for "extra bounce". This decision by Kohli and the team management was slammed by many.
"His bowling has picked up pace, his ball is heavier than what it used to be. He grabs his chances every time he comes into the team. He's a massive contender to start in every Test for India, he'll be a vital part of our plans, especially overseas," Kohli had said of Bhuvneshwar in Kolkata.
"He's grabbing his chances and is a massive contender to start every Test match for India. He'll do us good in overseas conditions and not just in home conditions. He's going to be an important part of our plan going forward in all formats," he had added.
Same day, Bhuvneshwar had said he had improved and swing was not the only weapon he had in his armoury.
"When I made my debut, I was totally dependent on swing. International circuit tells you what you need to improve on. I worked hard on my fitness and that is paying off," he said at Eden Gardens after picking up the Man-of-the-match award for an eight-wicket haul in the Test.
In Cape Town, Bhuvneshwar gave India a rousing start taking three wickets in the first half hour of the Test. He finished with six wickets in the game, which the visitors lost by 72 runs.
Conditions in Centurion might have prompted Kohli to drop Bhuvneshwar but he could have given a break to Mohammed Shami or Jasprit Bumrah instead of him.